Property investment is a long-term game. Finding and financing a good property are just the…
For first-time landlords, and even for experienced property investors, finding a tenant can seem to be a stressful prospect. But the process doesn’t have to be difficult; by boiling process down to essential elements you’ll be surprised how simple the task can be.
Making sure the house is appealing to prospective tenants is obviously important, but there are a number of other tangible steps you can take to get your property leased. From knowing when to enlist professional help, to strategically planning when to open the property for inspection, here are 10 tips to help you get your property leased as quickly as possible.
1. Improve street appeal
First impressions count for everything. To maintain street appeal, make sure the pathway is clear and that everything visible from the kerb – including doors, gutters and windows – is clean and in good repair. Make sure the garden looks healthy and touch up any external paintwork that needs freshening.
2. Set strategic viewing times
A savvy strategy employed by experienced property managers is to hold inspections at the times your property presents at its best. For instance, this might mean setting viewing times after dark to show off a glittering city view. Or, if the property is positioned on a noisy street, hold off on conducting inspections until after peak commuting hours.
3. Review comparable rentals
Comparing your property to others on the market will reveal useful information. You might find that you need to reduce your rental expectations or make improvements to the property in order to be competitive with other similar properties.
4. Invest in quality photography
Good photography makes all the difference when it comes to appealing to your target audience. Blurry photos, poor composition, and unflattering angles can turn renters off before they’ve even stepped through the door. Make sure your property is looking its best for photos – beds made, benchtops free from clutter and straight curtains or blinds can make a real difference.
Consider investing in a professional photographer; remember, their rate should be tax-deductible and you can use the photos for years to come.
5. Do a deep clean
While it comes at a small cost of around $100-$200, enlisting the services of a professional cleaner could pay you back ten-fold if it attracts a new tenant sooner. Have the property deep cleaned prior to taking photos, or before inspections, and have the tenants maintain the standard to ensure the property is presented in its best light.
6. Be proactive with repairs
Falling behind on even minor repairs could see tenants move your property to the bottom of their pile. Everything that needs to be fixed, should be fixed. This includes leaky taps, broken light fittings, damaged fly screens on doors and windows, and even loose doorknobs that need tightening.
7. Make gardening stress-free
If your investment property has a sizeable garden attached to it, consider hiring a gardener. Not only is it tax deductible, but the cost of long-term garden neglect can be steep. A gardener will also ease the pressure on potential tenants to maintain their new home, adding further appeal to your property.
8. Use a property manager
According to The Australian Landlords Panel*, around 23% of landlords self-manage their properties – even though most landlords are working full time.
It’s important to consider whether your time is best spent finding and managing tenants or whether this is best left to the expertise of the professional. Also, keep in mind that some insurers require a property management agreement to be in place as a condition of insurance.
9. Prioritise flooring upgrades
A fresh and clean atmosphere inside the house will immediately make it easy for the tenants to picture themselves living in your property – and this starts from the ground up. The ATO assumes the life of carpet is around 10 years, so use this as a guide and aim to replace the carpets every decade or so.
10. Avoid peak rental times
Avoid listing from late November and through December. Many people will be too busy to house-hunt until the New Year, so listing your property during the Christmas season would risk your property remaining vacant, potentially for over a month.
Instead, structure your leases so they become due in late January or October.
* The Australian Landlords Panel 2012: Research to provide a detailed understanding of the Private Property Investor sector.